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Episode 250: Nerdist Podcast
Alton Brown
Nerdist PodcastNerdist Podcast

Nerdist Podcast: Alton Brown

Alton Brown sits down with Matt and Chris to talk all things food and cooking! They also talk about Doctor Who, of course, and how Alton flies his own planes!

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    Words cannot describe how happy this makes me! Alton is one of my childhood idols (I still remember calling him “the cool guy with the crazy hair and glasses” in the very room I’m typing in around 10 years ago), and he’s one of the reasons- No no, THE REASON I got into cooking! Every time I need to cook something for a special occasion, I always grab one of the Good Eats cookbooks.

    Even if you got Seth MacFarlane to come in and do a 5-hour podcast, I still wouldn’t be this happy! Hell, the only thing that’ll top this is if you could somehow, through black magic, get Howard Ashman on the podcast.

    …. You can do that right?

  • sigh…that was awesome… my nerd worlds collided.

    An observation about why we crave certain foods. I was surprised to hear Alton say that scientists hadn’t cracked this, because I thought this one was pretty much handled. Human beings have been hardwired for pretty much all of our evolution to seek out sweet and fatty foods. To a being living at subsistance level, small doses of concentrated fats and carbs were the fastest way to health, to put on some reserve mass to keep you alive through the lean times… And for all of human existance until maybe 5 generations ago, those kinds of foods were terrifically difficult to come by for most of the population. And the relative scarcity is what created the impulse to consume them. Think about it in historical terms – ripe fruits is not an all-year-round thing. You might come across a hive with wild honey, maybe. And natural fats are hard to come by and require work to extract (either through animal husbandry – a relatively recent phenomena – or through processing of plant oils).

    It is only in the post-Industrial and transportation revolution era that we sit amidst a glut of sugars and fats, hence the obesity epidemic.

    Check out Dr. David Kessler’s “the end of Overeating” – it’s a great companion to Tim Ferriss’s 4 Hour Body. Kessler (by providing LOTS of inf from neurological studfies) explains our bad eating behaviors and how to de-condition ourselves from them, and Ferriss sets you up with a new diet that works.

  • clarification on my last post:
    I am not saying animal husbandry is recent (as in five generation ago). I am saying it is recent (13,000 years, maybe) in terms of all of human evolution.

  • Me and my 150 episodes of Good Eats have been dreaming of this moment.

    Thanks to Alton I learned how to build a steak broiler out of a coal chimney! Cooks my porterhouse steaks a perfect medium rare. We call it “THE DEATH RAY” and we laugh maniacally when we cook.

  • Can we as a society PLEASE be over dieting? We don’t need to diet. Setting up foods as good (vegetables) and bad (breads) is what creates the desire for “bad” foods. We all want to rebel, and food rebellion is very easy.
    Instead of preaching the glories of dieting we should be questioning why we do it in the first place. The statistics surrounding obesity are skewed to make us seem fatter. The method used to determine obesity (BMI) is flawed to say the least and only takes into account height and weight, not age or muscle density or other conditions or even, you know, body fat percentage. Many body builders are considered obese because of this.
    The health risk that obesity poses is greatly exaggerated. Diabetes may be more common in fat people, but it is largely because they are the ones singled out for testing. It is just as common among people that the BMI considers to be the ideal weight.
    I was excited for a show with food nerds, but if it is going to be fat hating, I won’t be listening.

    If anyone is interested in an alternate viewpoint to the Hate-Your-Body viewpoint that society at large seems to think is healthy, check out the blog Two Whole Cakes.

  • The Living Daylights continues to hold a spot in my top 5 favorite Bond films. I was 18 when it came out and after growing up with lightweight Moore (although I love For Your Eyes Only), watching Dalton’s steely Bond setting up a sniper position to blow someone away…well…blew me away! (I hadn’t seen ANY of the Connery Bonds at that point.)

  • food of the gods

    Grilled Gorgon Fanchette with Medusa marinara sauce
    Centaur stakes with Pholes fries
    Barbeque Calydonian Boar pulled pork sandwich
    chimera gyro
    minotaur ox tail soup
    broiled Karkinos with lemon and melted butter
    slow roasted Hippalectryon (half roaster, half hoarse) with rosemary and garlic potatoes

  • Um. I just. I’m kind of geeking out here. I need a moment. I just *tears flowing Cat Girl Youtube Video Style* love Alton Brown soooooo much! I want to hug him and thank you for everything!

    That said, one thing he said reflects something I’ve been thinking for a while. Alton plays the Dr. Hatori role on Iron Chef BRILLIANTLY, but I always feel like I’m missing the Kenji Fukui position. Another person on the monitors with him (not just Kevin Brauch’s brilliant floor reporting).

    Both Alton and Kevin have such similar feels to me that I want more of a foil. A different point of view that might not know quite so much for more color, though still highly respectful and knowledgeable in his own right.

  • The craving thing is something that really confuses me – I only crave (and I’m not trying to sound pretentious/holier-than-thou or whatever here) tahini, smoked tofu, greens, roasted winter squash and sometimes chickpeas/cucumbers. Oh, and salt. I eat a lot of salt. (And yet I’m healthy and have very low blood pressure.)
    I have no idea why I have these ‘unusual’ cravings, but they are there. Weird. Even weirder that I don’t like sweet foods, from an evolutionary standpoint.

    Hi from Germany, btw :).

  • Just finished and loved the episode, as usual guys!

    Also, I geeked out when you guys started talking about how ‘aliens addicting us to terrible food so that we’re easier to conquer’ could be a whole TV show season… because that was the main arc last season on Supernatural. Just substitute “monsters” instead of “aliens”…

  • Alton Brown should create the aircraft version of Top Gear :P Immediately what I thought of when he said that networks think Aviation shows are too exclusive, Top Gear is the perfect example of a show that can please car enthusiasts and others.

  • Hey Chris, try a chai tea misto if you’re worried about sugar/calories. They taste similar and are better for you. They’re basically 2 tea bags in half a cup of hot water then they top it off with steamed milk. Then you can sweeten it to taste.

  • woo hoo! Nerdist score’s another 3ToF hero!

    Alton is amazing. Good Eats is an endlessly wonderful show…it makes cooking fun and experimentive! The entire run of the show has been compressed into 3 AMAZING books…you cant call them cookbooks because they are so much more. They are the only cooking themed books that ive ever read cover-to-cover as, regardless of the dish or food subject, each section is full of really interesting and funny funny stuff. And the food is amazing…..Alton saved my @ss during the first thanksgiving that i hosted for my family (mmmm mmmm brined turkey). One of these days i MUST try his box-fan-combined-with-furnace-filter system for making home made beef jerky!

    Thanks Chris…and THANKS ALTON!!!!!! You put the FUN in F(un)ood!!!!

    Peace and thats just….(wait for it)……Good Eats


  • Chris- How do feel about some of Apples “borrowing” history.
    Like the fact that almost any apple product own A Lot to Braun.
    As in blatant copies oh how many of their products?
    Another being the original ipod menu system was derived from Microsoft’s Card system.
    Or any of the court proven infringements apple commited against HTC.
    If apple wasn’t literraly one of the worst offenders in this kind f crime I might be more supportive of this decision.
    What happened here was the richest company had the best lawyers and has for some time.

  • Hey Chris, have you ever thought about going into the hour and a half or two hour format? Sometimes it would be great to have a longer session with some guests, hell Rogan and Kevin Smith go about three hours most of the time and I can still listen to all of it. Just a thought love the show been listening since #1 and have enjoyed all of them. :D

  • Ahhhh, my food hero on Nerdist! It was only a matter of time! Honestly, this dude more than any other makes me understand cooking and food better than anything else I’ve seen or read. Plus the stuff he comes up with as alternative ways of fixing things up (see the above example of the beef jerky system). I’m glad ya had him on! And can’t wait to see the DorkFork this week.

  • his new show sounds AMAZING (the food investigation one)!

    i HATE chocolate to the point if even a little bit of it is unknowingly in my food / drink i immediately spit it out. this isn’t a choice like ‘hmm i think this taste nasty” – it’s a physical biological reaction. it has been this way since I was a kid.

    occasionally I also crave kimchi ( I am not korean & it was not part of my palette growing up).

    i hope there is also an episode about “food memory” too!

  • I have always loved AB. You keep blowing my expectations out of the water/reading my mind and somehow knowing exactly what I am obsessed with. Sir, I challenge you to one-up my expectations once more!

  • @mgasp – Kinda made me think of Beaker speaking, but that’s more of a “MEEP.” Like this:

    @Chris Hardwick – So which Nerdist show did you pitch for TV? I assume Celebrity Bowling as that one has a rotating cast of famous people to draw in non-nerd viewers. Or the Scat TV. Whichever. Anyway, I’ve wondered about the practicality of YouTube shows reairing on cable channels, which would mean more fans / viewers / ad revenue for the content providers and premade, pre-proven content for the cable channels. I’ve no idea why some suit wouldn’t be all over that, but apparently rerunning the bejesus out of “COPS” or some such thing is easier.

    As for “associative dieting,” I’ve heard of something like that for non-food items. One of my relatives gave up drinking and smoking at the same time and she says people are astonished by this, but it made perfect sense to her as she always did one with the other. And despite what I’ve heard on this podcast and elsewhere, I *STILL* want to try a Cinnabon just once in my life. I may need three friends to help me eat it if the rumors are true, but dangit I want that experience…

    And I’m SO looking forward to the mash-up of Alton Brown on “the science show based in San Francisco.” It’s MYTHBUSTERS, people! Set your DVRs ‘cuz it’s a farking mash-up of nerd win! It’s as if farking Paul McCartney recording a farking single with farking Mick Jagger! But nerdy!


  • I craved broccoli for years, and in certain seasons, always! The same goes for certain fruits and other vegetables. If you limit your diet to stay healthy, you begin to love within the limits very much! Maybe I’m a creature of habit, too, but I like how I feel after eating those foods, and maybe that is part of the craving. There are good cravings vs. bad cravings, for me – the good is a wish, the bad is “gottahaveit” feeling like a bad habit and they say that feeling may point to something you are actually allergic or sensitive to.

  • Damn, this episode makes me so happy. I’ve always been a huge fan of Good Eats and everything else Alton Brown has been involved in. If it weren’t for his show, I’d still be eating ramen for breakfast.

  • I have to admit:
    I CRAVE BROCCOLI(from time to time)

    I love it, I love vegetables as much as I like meat(you know, real MEAT, like a huge steak, half a pig etc).

    And now I’d like to have dinner with AB(his expenses) and wont mind if he accuses me of lying all the time. :D

  • Sorry Alton, I’m going to have to admit that I might be an alien. I CRAVE BROCCOLI. Honest to god I do crave i and will get up in the middle of the night to eat it. I also crave celery, mushrooms and several other overly healthy foods. Now that is equally balanced by chocolate, a must have for all women not allergic to it.

  • Wow, it’s like you’re psychic or something Chris. Good Eats and Iron Chef are two of my show addicttions and Alton is the primary reason for that. Great episode. Makes me think that a podcast with Anthony Bourdain would be great as well. Food is awesome.